Monday, 31 October 2011

A Patchwork Garden

Some borders in my garden are left to their own devices.  There is no specific planting I just let everything seed itself about and wait to see the results.  Foxgloves, Sweet Rocket, Forget-me-nots, Aquilegia all mixed up.  Primulas are split and transplanted, underplantings of bulbs like Hyacinth, which have been indoors over winter are planted willy-nilly.  The result, hopefully, is a natural looking garden - probably a bit messy for those who like a weedless perfect look, sometimes one flower will dominate and a few are pulled out to give other plants a chance to shine - but on the whole, it works, with very little effort.

One of the good things about this way of patchwork gardening is that it leaves very little of the soil bare, so not many weeds are able to take hold.  I have one or two problems with ground elder, but that too is mostly left unless it becomes too invasive, and spurge, which seems to predominate. is easily removed.

Although I enjoy gardening, I don't want it to become too much of a chore - this way the plants do most of the work for me, keeping the ground covered and keeping the weeds out.

Spring Garden 2010
As you may have noticed I have given the blog a face lift - not sure whether I will keep it or not - it may be just be a little bit in your face We'll see.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Late bloomers and other things

Verbena bonariensis
Some sort of Acer I guess
Village tree at the crossroads
Village trees
At the weekend I finally dug up the Dahlias - they were looking pretty bedraggled and sorry for themselves - they haven't had a good year.  I decided against leaving them in the ground as I want to plant them at the allotment next year.  I lost all of last years' tubers during the winter so I am going to wrap them in newspaper, as Mark Willis suggested, keep them in the shed, and hope for the best.
I usually get rid of all the leaf litter that covers the flower beds, but this year I am leaving it for the bugs and beetles to deal with as I am trying to have a more insect-friendly garden - my motto this year is don't be too quick to tidy up.

I had a wander round with the camera to see if I could find any autumnal photos, as everyone else's blogs I read are full of beautiful shots.  Here are a few I found:-
Hydrangea petiolaris

driftwood - nicely rotting
Borage still in flower, self-seeded by the front gate
Flowers of the Choisya just opening
Erysium - the wonder plant
Not a big haul, sadly, but mine isn't a very shrubby garden - so I will just have to be satisfied with what I have.

I also dug up some Wallflower plants from their nursery bed at the allotment and planted them in the front garden.  They were really healthy looking plants - whereas, the ones that I planted out a few weeks ago are much smaller and the leaves are full of holes, do flea beetles attack wallflowers?  I love the variety of colours and the fragrance of  them and grow them every year amongst the daffodils and tulips

Monday, 24 October 2011

Fuzzy White Stars

You know when you have a picture hanging on the wall for years, you hardly even notice it, because it has always been there - well, that's how it is with some garden plants for me.  The Viburnam Tinus which I use as hedging and a windbreak in a couple of places in the garden, hardly gets a second look.  But yesterday, whilst I was pottering about, I suddenly  caught sight of the Viburnam in flower, and thought 'when did that happen'.
For part of the year it is quite a dull-looking plant, which serves its purpose on the shady side of the garden, then it comes alive with beautiful pink, tight-curled buds, which open out into little fizzy white stars, which have a rather nice fragrance and are handy for bringing indoors when little else is flowering.  One of the downsides to this shrub is that they grow very quickly to a great height, but they can take a severe pruning and recover well. 

Last year I cut one of them down to nothing, as it had well outgrown its space - and now it is showing lots of new leaves which are a lovely fresh green before they turn to their rather dull colour again.  After flowering it produces little berries - so all in all I think it warrants a place in the garden.  Oh and they grow easily from cuttings as well.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Put on your Dress of Red and Gold

There are still a few hangers-on in the garden, unwilling to give in to the season, but soon their time will be at an end for another year.
The Dahlias are looking very scruffy now but until they are hit by frost they will stay as they are, giving just a little more pleasure.
And the hardy Fuschia  with the Eryngium behind have flowered and flowered and show no signs of stopping.

The Sempervivum theatre is also going strong and increases every year, they are supposed to be drought-resistant, but some are looking a little sorry for themselves.  I will have to give them a good sort out next spring, if they survive the winter.
The sky early this morning was tinted with lavender and pink hues which changed by the minute - you know what they say about 'red sky in the morning'.  We shall have to wait and see.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Tawny Leaves and Withered Hedges

One of my favourite tv adaptations of a Jane Austen novel is Persuasion with Rupert Penry-Jones (drool, drool).  I had never read the book,( I have to be in the right frame of mind to read the 'classics'), but today on my trawl through the charity bookshops, I came across this for £1.50 and when I opened it, found the words:-

"Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges,  and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn, that season which has drawn from every poet, worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling." 

The last smiles of the year.  That is how it has been today - the sun has been smiling down, so this afternoon, I donned my walking boots and warm coat and set off road walking.

My pace was brisk and I felt full of energy as I strode down the road, looking for autumn.
There are still plenty of berries around and they sung out at me as I passed by.  These are on a Cotoneaster Horizontalis, which the birds tend to leave alone for some reason.
The hips on the dog roses are becoming fewer as they shrivel and fall.

The stems of the Bryony trail and twist around other plants, their berries soft and succulent.
And the Hawthorn in the hedgerow is still festooned with berried ornament.

The Berberis in the garden has little red droplets all along its stems.
And as I walk home, feeling fully invigorated, I see the cows all queuing up waiting to go in for milking.

But just taking a little time out to see what I was doing.

I guess days like this will become fewer and further in between, but I intend to make the most of them while they last.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Winter Preparations

Autumn is marching on:  even the scarecrows are wearing dead leaves.
Otsuyu Nakagawa
Photo:  Pinterest
In the garden at home I have four raised beds which I use to grow small vegetables, lettuce, radish etc., and any spare plants left over from the allotment.  They are mostly empty now so I have spread manure and compost and covered them  to stop cats, badgers and other nuisances from digging holes and leaving their droppings.  I spent the fine weekend completing this task and am glad I did, as the weather here has now turned chilly, and it isn't as pleasant working outside.

As I have been working I have been collecting seedheads for use next year and have a small collection  that will be kept in envelopes in a dry, dark place - Sweet Williams, Sweet Peas, Rudbeckia and Sunflower - there are far more than I will need but it is always best to be on the safe side.
Then, as I was tidying everything way, to my horror, I found another box of stored tulip bulbs.  I thought I had finished my bulb planting for the year - how could I have missed these?  The easiest solution was to take them up to the allotment and dig a trench and plant them in straight lines.  If they don't come to much it won't particularly matter, but if they do come good then there will be plenty for picking for the house.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Rabbits Running Free

So, I was making my way back from the allotment this morning and saw what looked like a pile of horse poo
in the middle of the road, I swerved to miss it and to my surprise, it moved.  I couldn't believe my eyes - admittedly it was still a little dark - but, there they were - two lop-eared grey rabbits.  I don't know how long they had been running free from the confines of the rabbit hutch, but they were having a whale of a time racing about, going under parked cars, up garden paths - but never straying very far from home turf. 

I had a feeling I knew who they belonged to and banged on the front door - I was afraid for the rabbits as the morning traffic was picking up  and moving a little too fast for fat little hoppities to get out of the way.  There was no answer to my knocking and the rabbits had disappeared again - oh dear - what to do!  Bunnies are notoriously hard to catch and these two were no exception.

Eventually I found the owners who had no idea that the hutches were empty.  I thought of the distress of their children going to feed the rabbits their breakfast and finding them gone.  So I helped to round them up and made my way home.  Just a little bit too much excitement for that early in the morning, thank you very much.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Bulb Planting Bonanza

I have had bags of bulbs hanging around for a few weeks now just waiting for me to get off my backside and get them planted.  Finally, yesterday, I made a concerted effort as the weather was fine, and planted 30 containers, 2 buckets, 2 hanging baskets, 2 troughs and a window box full of Minnow and Tete a Tete Daffoldils, dwarf and full-sized Tulips, before planting 80 Pansy plants in pale lemon and lilac over the top to stop the rain washing the potting compost away.
I am now officially exhausted - I knew there was a reason I kept putting it off - my back is killing me - but it is done, finito.  Whew!
Just a few of the pots I planted up, seeing this photo makes me realise I must just go out and tidy the rims up a bit.  All that is needed now is a bit of watering every so often  and a long wait till next spring.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wandering the Lanes

Whilst wandering the lanes yesterday I spotted this Holly in the hedgerow its leaves bright and gleaming with the berries singing out in the dull and cloudy weather.
These are some of this years' lambs, who, with a whole field of grass to eat,  decide instead to climb the rubbish heap and play at 'I'm the king of the castle' investigating if there is anything good to have a munch at.
I found hidden gems in the grass
and back in the garden I saw that this Geranium  has flowered for the third time.
There's no stopping nature.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Name of the Rose

The other day I posted a picture of an unknown rose and I just wanted to thank for all the trouble she went to trying to find out the name of the rose for me.  The one she found  was very similar in description, but it didn't ring any bells with me.  So I went on t'internet and eventually found it.  The name is 'Josephs Coat' for obvious reasons, as the pictures above will show.  The rose changes colour day by day, hence the name.   At last I can sleep at night.

Rosy Cushion

Another late bloomer ... this one is called ... Rosy Cushion
and grows by the picket fence in the front garden.
It is a bit spindley at the moment ...
but a good dollop of well rotted horse manure
should do the trick.
Sunrise yesterday morning...
a very angry looking sky which didn't really develop into anything much
except lots of wind.